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Messages - Ralf Maximus [ switch to compact view ]

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Living Room / Re: Windows Install Date Thingie: I made it!
« on: December 05, 2008, 12:15 PM »
Holy smokes!

I'd kinda forgotten this thread existed.  Thanks, mcvrkovic, for the ping.  :)

ThArGos: I'll check out the link and see what's involved in adapting it.  Also, I'll back-scan thru the thread and collect a list of bugs that need fixin'.

Then, I'll dust off the code and we shall see.

Coding Snacks / Re: IDEA: Windows Desktop Refresh Message Eater
« on: December 03, 2008, 01:15 PM »
OOooh, cool!  Thanks, skrommel.

I'll try it and see... but the underlying issue is that the active window is firing refresh event messages at Windows handle=0 (the desktop).  Would freezing the parent window stop it from broadcasting refresh messages?

Coding Snacks / IDEA: Windows Desktop Refresh Message Eater
« on: December 01, 2008, 04:16 PM »
Here's my issue...

I have an ill-behaved application that I am forced to use, and one of its annoying bugs is that whenever it loads data into its grid, it fires a refresh message at the Windows desktop for EVERY ROW.  So, if I wish to view 1000 records, the Windows desktop goes nuts with refreshing -- icons flicker, child windows redraw.  1000 times in a row.

Needless to say, performance is in the toilet during this time, and I am almost having siezures from my strobing desktop.

Would it be feasible to have a tiny tray applet that, when turned ON, intercepts and disposes of all refresh messages sent to the Windows desktop?  Obviously, if left activated severe cosmetic issues would result... but I anticipate using this hootchie briefly, like only during times when I know my app's grid is going to load records.  So I'd double-click the thingie to disable Windows desktop refresh, then double-click it again to re-enable it.

Any ideas?

Living Room / Re: Why Windows Rules: the QWERTY phenomenon?
« on: December 01, 2008, 03:37 PM »
Thanks for being cool about all this.  I understand now what you were trying to accomplish.

However, I'm uncomfortable with the response my simple statement of opinion generated.  I've spent entirely too much time defending and explaining a position I don't even care about.

The end result is that I no longer feel qualified to express opinions unless I am prepared to do battle, High School Debate Club style.  That's not fun, and not why I come here.  I am not a newbie -- check my stats.

So, I'll go back to posting fun/amusing doo-dads and leave the heavy debate to the more qualified.

Have fun.

Living Room / Re: Why Windows Rules: the QWERTY phenomenon?
« on: December 01, 2008, 11:29 AM »
Paul, I respect your deep knowledge.  You have a very precise style of laying out facts that is a pleasure to read.

But.  I feel like you're fixating on key words in my text (e.g. "upgrade", "lynx") and running with those, breaking things down to the subatomic level and reassembling them differently than I meant.  Obviously I am not able to articulate my real point: that O/S agnostism is something to strive for, and spending time worrying about why Windows both rules and sucks at the same time is not productive.  I view that as a failure on my part, as I pride myself on communications skills.  Maybe as we get to know each others' posting style this will ease somewhat -- I'm really a nice guy, and I'm sure you are too. No harm, no foul.

But for now I will bow out of this thread, declare you the winner of a debate I didn't even know I was participating in, and let things go.

Living Room / Re: Why Windows Rules: the QWERTY phenomenon?
« on: November 30, 2008, 11:44 AM »
Zaine!  I've missed you.  :)

Yes, upon re-reading I didn't get that from the QWERTY article.  I guess I got hung up on the IDEA of switching, and/or debating the value of one O/S over another, which is a discussion that rapidly bores me.  Sure, compare & contrast the differences, promote one over another for particular tasks... but too many of those threads descend into Mac bashing and Redmond hating.  My reflex kicked in, and it blinded me to the core of the essay.  Thanks for pointing that out.

I still stand by my IE/FF example, as it pertains to the desire to upgrade. 

FF 1.0 was released in September 2004.  In that year, Microsoft shipped approximately 100 million XP SP upgrades.  That's *just* XP, and only upgrades from previous XP editions.  One can easily envision that number being x5 or even x10 when all Windows editions sold prior to 2004 are factored in.

If only 1% of 100 million users hated IE and used Opera, Netscape, Lynx (etc) that's a substantial number -- a million people -- and supports the meme that power users wanted something better, but typical users didn't know/care enough to even think about switching.  From supporting a large help desk, I know for a fact many otherwise intelligent adults think of IE as "the internet," as if it's just a drive share or some magical thing on their computer  ("You need software to see the internet?").

That was my point.

Awareness was raised by the FF phenomenon, and Microsoft's monopolistic issues in Europe at that time.  Suddenly open source anything was in the news, and that also boosted interest in Firefox.

But until that time, I think it's safe to say 99% of Windows users didn't even know there was an upgrade path away from IE, and the vast majority would have shrugged anyway had they known.

This is incredibly cool!

I can easily see the free version of uCalc replacing the vbs functionality I've implemented in one of my apps, just because I needed to evaluate user-entered formulas.  I'll have to play with the demo and see how easy it will be to implement.

If I can kiss the scripting engine goodbye, it'll definitely be worth it!

I've always wondered... what the heck *is* BurnProof?

Oooh, cool.  I am grabbing this.

I found that by setting Copernic's task priority to 4 (idle) helped a lot.  Also, having a multi-core fire-breather of a workstation doesn't hurt.

Mouser's task balancing thingie ftw!

The only trouble I've had is the occasional file-lock.  If I didn't have Unlocker installed, I'd probably be more upset about that.

But I've excluded huge swatches of my harddrive from Copernic's questing fingers of doom, particularly my sourcecode folders.  That seems to have helped tremendously.

The v3 crippleware is fine for my needs.  Since I added the 2TB external RAID and moved all the server-based files to local drives, I no longer need to index network shares.

So, for me, it's a decent solution.  *shrug*

Living Room / Re: Why Windows Rules: the QWERTY phenomenon?
« on: November 27, 2008, 12:16 PM »
And therefor, because you have settled this issue in your own mind (and to your own complete satisfaction) this discussion is a waste of everyone else's time too?

If you'd like to discuss something, why not the original point of my first response?

You seem to have fixated on the last line of the thing, and ignored the first five paragraphs.

But "better" has to have quantitative benefits.  Just because the kernel is way cooler or open source or from anyplace but Redmond shouldn't (and doesn't) matter. 
Thing is, it isn't. It's not the POS it used to be, but it's still inferior to the NT kernel :)

I was visualizing the Linux kernal as I wrote that.

Also, nowhere did I say Windows was better than other stuff, or even acceptable, or even total crap.  It's just *Windows*.

I've missed you, f0dder.

I just updated my vote, since I now use Copernic.  Seems to be the best jack-of-all-trades compromise between performance, beauty, ease of use, and stability.

Living Room / Re: Why Windows Rules: the QWERTY phenomenon?
« on: November 27, 2008, 07:50 AM »
It's the waste-of-effort of analyzing a well understood trend that irritates me.

The simple fact that articles like this exist, if you will.

Windows is installed on zillions of workstations.  Why?  Because it's always been that way.  When will it change?  When something tremendously better compels us to switch.  Until then, analyzing why everyone runs Windows when "better" operating systems exist seems like wankery.

BTW, I may sound like I'm hammering this out with fists of fury, but I'm not.  I'm quite calm and relaxed right now, thinking about fluffy, fluffy bunnies.

NOD32 continues to impress, because of its performance and lack of paranoia.

I use AVG 8 on my test machines, and am constantly pelted with false positives.  This can be more dangerous than actual infection; the Cry Wolf syndrome.  On the other hand, AVG detects real threats as soon as the file exists -- NOD32 seems to require the file be executed before swinging into action.

This can be a catastrophic failure, since some of the newer malware fires off zillions of threads to attack your system, and NOD32 gets tangled up trying to stop them all.  In these circumstances, I simply ignore NOD32's "repair" option and go straight to restoration of a backup.  The end result is the same -- PC not infected by nasty trojan or whatever -- but AVG would have prevented the infection to begin with.

I've encountered people who run multiple virus scanners concurrently, and always thought them a bit paranoid.  Am now questioning this assumption.


People who never experience failure are rare, but they exist.  I've met a few.  They are vapid and uninteresting... often the product of "priveledged" upbringing.

Conversely, the most intensely interesting people I've known come from incredibly screwed up childhoods, failure piled atop failure, to ridiculous extremes.  These are the folks you want at your side during the Zombie Apocalypse: cool, unflappable souls during an emergency.

Failure defines us better than our successes.  I revel in failure, but don't dwell on it.  Fix the problem, move on, and learn from the mistakes.  That's the only real way to grow.

Living Room / Re: Why Windows Rules: the QWERTY phenomenon?
« on: November 27, 2008, 07:00 AM »
See, I've become more agnostic regarding operating systems.

In short: use whatever works for YOU.

If you run BeOs and think the rest of the world is crazy for not adopting it, fine.  If you're a Mac user, good on you.  Whatever makes you productive and happy is best.

The constant hand-wringing over Windows being on top despite questionably inferior technology is counter productive.  When a better mousetrap comes along, people will adopt it... it's just that simple.  Note that until FireFox came along, 99% of Windows users never even considered departing IE.

But "better" has to have quantitative benefits.  Just because the kernel is way cooler or open source or from anyplace but Redmond shouldn't (and doesn't) matter.  When Linux can kick Windows' ass in a spectacular and compelling fashion, the IE-->FF migration will repeat, but with operating systems.

Until that time, articles like this just piss me off.

Living Room / Top 10 Ways Not to Cook a Turkey
« on: November 27, 2008, 06:52 AM »
10. Flaming bucket of gasoline.

9. Under the hood of the car, on the way to grandma's house.

8. Plastic Wal-Mart bag method.

7. Wishful thinking.

6. The forward antennae array of an Aegis cruiser.

5. Give it to the Myth Busters.

4. Set oven to 1000 degrees for 30 minutes, at 5:00 PM on Thanksgiving day.

3. 500 chemical hand warmers jammed right in the gibblets.

2. Dishwasher on "pot scrubber" mode.

...and the #1 way not to cook a thanksgiving day turkey:

1. Let Ralf Maximus anywhere near the damned thing.

Living Room / Where the hell is Ralf Maximus?
« on: November 27, 2008, 06:34 AM »
Short answer: Here again.

After a long hiatus, I remembered how to spell and found this place once more.  FireFox even recalled my password for me, which is good, because I have *no* idea.

I haven't looked around, haven't read anything, haven't posted anything nor replied.  Yet.  But know this, my friends, I will.  Oh yes, I will.  Fear it.

For those of you who don't recognize the name, Hi.  My name is Ralf.  At one time I cluttered the hallowed bytes of DC with irreverence, Top 10 lists, and observations about my penis.  There was laughter, merriment, and more than one restraining order.  I've written some code, fawned over my gorgeous and talented spawn, and posted moderately interesting snippets of crap from the greater internet.

Those of you who DO recognize the name: I've missed you.  Lots of stuff has happened in my life, some bad, but mostly good.  I'm pretty much the same Ralf, but with fancy new battle scars and even more opinions to share about EVERYTHING, regardless of my level of knowledge on a particular subject.  If anyone really cares about the seedy underworld of Ralfland, feel free to drop me a line.  I have no secrets.  But I shan't post them here lest I scare the kids.

One thing I have been doing is writing.  Fiction, that is.  Mostly small doo-dads that amuse me, some science fiction, lots of horror.  I maintain a gallery of nonsense at DeviantArt where I hang out daily.  It's a fun crowd there, but not as tech-crazy as this place.  I miss the hardcore geek factor around here, the stench of burning midnight oil, the tangy flavor of new software reviews, the happy birth squeal of coding snacks being born.

If you'll have me back, I promise to behave.

But promises are made to be broken.  :)

PS... Special thanks to Cranioscopical for kicking me in the ass.  Thank you, friend.

PPS... Deepest regrets for dropping out on you, Nick.  No words are necessary, but please know I writhe in agony over the ball I dropped, and hope you are well.

PPPS... Anyone have a topic for a Top 10 list?

General Software Discussion / Re: Searching a commandline NNTP client
« on: January 04, 2008, 08:32 AM »
Yeah, the 3rd party /n-Software doohickey looks perfect, but you're right -- it's pricey.

Have you considered a Windows port of the unix apps Pine or xnews?  I'm certain they're out there.  You might have to use something like Cygwin (ick) but if you get the functionality you want it might be worth it.  And free.

Living Room / Re: What is appropriate content for DonationCoder?
« on: January 04, 2008, 08:09 AM »
Re: Tagging

For it to work in this kind of community, it must be transparent.  The minute somebody suspects they're being labelled "NSFW" or "Potentially Offensive" behind their back trust is broken and cannot be regained.  Thus, if tags exist they should be visible.  Or, at least, user-configurable to BE visible if desired.  Those that think they're noisy can turn displayed tags off.

The tagging system itself should be flexible, with more than just "NSFW".  I would like to see a simple text-entry box below the subject line for a new post.  The author may type any number of space-delimited keywords into this tag-box, and upon posting, the forum software parses the list and stores the tags in a table (along with pointers to the message, author, and date).  ALSO, the processed tags are stored in the message header itself, so that the regular search function can find tags.

The tag table would be very useful.  Fun things like tag clouds could be generated, or statistics about who posts the most hardware-related stuff, or lolcats, or whatever.

Now, this may be more controversial, but hear me out...

I think each reply should also have the tag-box too.  That way a user can make a rude remark or post a naughty link or whatever and tag the reply so it doesn't corrupt an otherwise clean thread.  Better yet, if the topic veers madly off course (that never happens around here) one could tag a reply with new keywords so relevance is maintained.

It would be voluntary, unobtrusive, and take no additional steps or keystrokes than today if somebody thinks tags are dumb.  If you DO want to tag something, it's only a few additional keystrokes.

I'm sure lots more could be done with tags, but that's the basics of what I imagined.

Living Room / Re: What is appropriate content for DonationCoder?
« on: January 03, 2008, 10:54 PM »
I find it interesting that you have chosen to defend a mean trick as a harmless joke.  Herein lies the problem, what I feel as pain you find humorous.

Wow.  Putting words in my mouth.

I was not defending, simply pointing out that you clicked a link by a known prankster and was surprised at what you found.

How old are you?  Are you not aware that the internet contains things you may not like?

Living Room / Re: What is appropriate content for DonationCoder?
« on: January 03, 2008, 10:10 PM »
It was an ambush and it was mean.  I was terribly disappointed, as I have said.

Having clicked on the link, you learned something.  So don't do it again.  Renegade's humor is not for you, that much is clear.  Were you expecting happyjoyjoy funtime?  That's not R's style.

And blaming ANY of this on mouser or the mods here doesn't impress.  I find the assumption that I am an adult and capable of filtering what I perceive a blessing, not a burden.

Living Room / Re: What is appropriate content for DonationCoder?
« on: January 03, 2008, 09:22 PM »
Should I be allowed to freely (that is, without requiring an NSFW tag) identify the names of anatomical parts and intimate acts when we are discussing them in terms of a symptom of a legitimate computer-related problem?

This is exactly the kind of slicing-and-dicing exercise I dread, the part where it is decided "how much breast is too much" or "can we use the word penis"?

I would hope that whatever policy evolves, it is left deliberately vague.  Otherwise we shall become obsessed with discussing in detail the very subjects some find objectionable.

Living Room / Re: What is appropriate content for DonationCoder?
« on: January 03, 2008, 07:52 PM »
If we're considering implemention of a tagging system, then why is "censorship" relevant any more?

If we were talking about deleting posts, sure.  But nobody's suggested that.

FWIW, I am what many consider to be an extreme left-wing, progressive, libertarian, freedom of speech proponent.  I don't consider it my duty to protect the tender eyeballs and brains of anyone; if they've made the decision to venture out their front door they will See Things in the real world.  Expecting somebody else to protect them from unsavory images or ideas is infantile.

Having said that, I also respect the values of others who do not share my viewpoint.  I think a voluntary tagging system -- nothing like censorship -- is the way to go.

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